They were the best of friends, they were the worst of friends…
Last week, I introduced you to the happy never after of my old share house, where I lived with my school buddy and her Chihuahua, Chippy, his brother Pepi and Bobbin the cat (my two).
Second time round, it was the picture of domestic bliss, until we agreed that Pepi ought to have a new best friend.
Say hello to Maxi.
Maxi was rescued by the Save-a-Dog Scheme.
When I collected him from his foster home, he had been having fun beating up the other ten Chihuahuas the old lady was temporarily housing.
He was a mean little thing.
He wore his damage with such pride. Like a war veteran, returned.
You just knew he’d seen things that no Jack Russell-cross should ever see. But he’d survived, goddammit, by sheer force of his own iron will.
And no-one, but no-one, was gonna tell him what to do.
He scared the pants off me.
When I introduced him to Pepi, Pepi was all up in his business, totally naïve of Maxi’s bristling fur.
He wouldn’t warn you if he was going to bite. He’d just bite.
And bite he did.
There was no wound, except to Pepi’s pride, and so Pepi resorted to the only form of retaliation he felt sure about. He barked.
And barked. And BARKED.
He scolded Maxi from the safety of the couch, and Maxi, you could just tell, enjoyed sitting there, the untouchable focus of Pepi’s consternation.
It was love at first bite.
Up until then, Chippy had been Pepi’s shadow, glued to his butt like an annoying younger sibling.
But Maxi, with his eye on pole position, was having none of that.
The day he drew blood from Chippy’s eyebrow, it was Game of Thrones Chihuahua style – and they matched the humans move for move.
Save-a-Dog Scheme didn’t want to take him back.
I was about to resort to begging when Maxi suddenly developed a mysterious back pain that required him to be crated for a week.
Round 3 goes to Maxi.
Once hypochondria dog asserted his right to stay, the lines of fracture in an already troubled kingdom began to split the house apart.
Which was obviously a good time to get Chippy a wife.
Enter Salsa, and before Bobbin could hiss, we had a house full of untrained yappy dogs.
Strangely, Bobbin refused to come home, and instead took his frustrations out on the next door neighbour’s cat.
Meanwhile, Maxi discovered the never-before-found holes in the fence, and our merry little gang escaped to terrorise the neighbour’s kids.
Overnight, our home had gone from peace-loving hippies to neighbourhood thugs. Tiny, ankle sized thugs. But still.
We both gave up on grandiose ideas of study and took full time jobs, which we needed just to pay the vet bills.
Every day we came home, Maxi had done a new Houdini underneath the potato vine, and they’d taken their reign of terror to the streets.
It was only a matter of time before council issued a warning.
And we locked the dogs inside.
And someone kicked a hole in our back door. The same someone, we presume, who left the nasty note inside our letterbox.
And my best friend announced she couldn’t stand to live
with me there any more.
And our happy days in the house of dysfunction came to a close.
The key to that place sits now atop a pile of other unmarked keys, unlocking memories that are nothing if not bittersweet.
Maybe if we hadn’t been so preoccupied with all that petty human crap of who did what to whom and when, we might have seen what Maxi saw, and what took me years to finally recognise.
Pepi had the secret to another way.
Join me next week to celebrate Pepi’s alternate reality! Yayyyy, already….
There’ll be freebies and giveaways and general bribery.
And just to get you in the mood, here’s one from Pepi’s playlist…
What’s your worst ever share house experience?